ORI­GIN MAT­TERS

MADE IN CHINA USE TO BE SPE­CIAL, NOW IT’S JUST CHEAP AND NASTY AND EV­ERY­WHERE

Central Telegraph - - STUFF - ON A LIGHTER NOTE WORDS: GREG BRAY

Folks, one heir­loom my mother is try­ing to fob off to her off­spring is a large cab­i­net that was made in China be­fore World War II.

It’s hard to ex­plain to young peo­ple to­day just how ex­otic some­thing made in China was when I was a lad.

It wasn’t that long ago China was a des­ti­na­tion hardly any­body could get into and prac­ti­cally no­body could get out of.

The com­mu­nist na­tion was hid­den be­hind the Bam­boo Cur­tain.

At the time, Rus­sia lay be­hind the Iron Cur­tain while here in Aus­tralia we were rid­ing on the sheep’s back.

Any­way, back then, China’s chief ex­ports were pro­pa­ganda and po­lit­i­cal refugees.

Half-starved folk who ar­rived on our shores with a cou­ple of small bags, wide smiles on their di­als and an ex­treme will­ing­ness to work 50 hours a day to show their grat­i­tude. So, when vis­i­tors came to our home we would show them the cab­i­net made in China and they’d make the ap­pro­pri­ate noises of ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

Fur­ni­ture from the For­bid­den ex-King­dom was a rar­ity. I don’t know when things changed, but at some point in the past 20 years the words Made in China started re­plac­ing the words Made in Ja­pan.

Try telling kids to­day that the term Made in Ja­pan was seen by wily shop­pers as code for cheap, un­re­li­able garbage. Stuff that broke quicker than a cheap chair un­der a Sumo wrestler.

If you wanted mer­chan­dise of qual­ity, that would last a life­time, you bought Aus­tralian or British made prod­ucts.

Sadly, Aus­tralian con­sumers didn’t want slightly dearer Aussie-made tran­sis­tor ra­dios, stereos, TVs, cars, mow­ers or wash­ing ma­chines that lasted for­ever.

To­day, even the Ja­panese are get­ting their stuff made in China. Thou­sands of ships are criss-cross­ing the globe filled to the brim with Chi­nese junk and, as a re­sult, the value of Mum’s gen­uine, an­tique Chi­nese cab­i­net has plum­meted like a shot Pek­ing duck.

Still, one way of in­creas­ing its value a hun­dred­fold would be to print the words Made in Aus­tralia on it.

Which is what I’ll do as soon as the stamp and ink ar­rives from China. Find Greg Bray at greg­bray­writer.word­press.com or Face­book: Greg Bray – Writer

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.